Thrust on ensuring faster and inclusive growth

Patna: Planning Commission`s Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwali on Monday said the issues like cash subsidy and PPP, especially raised by Bihar, would be addressed prominently in the approach paper to 12th five year plan.

"We will have thrust on ensuring faster and inclusive growth and sustainability," Ahluwalia told a joint press conference with Union Minister of State for Planning Ashwini Kumar on the sidelines of the Regional Consultation with five Eastern States to Approach Paper to be finalised by the Planning Commission.

Stating that the meeting of the Commission which began today was a "consultation process" and no decision was taken during the meeting.

"We heard the issues and views of the states and we will be holding similar types of meetings with North Eastern States, Southern and Western states in next two to three weeks," Montek said.

"We will then finalise the draft for the 12th plan period," he said.

"I think the states have been very pleased to welcome the consultation process," he said, adding "we are happy to note that the states represented their views and raised issues to be covered in approach."

There was emphasis on agriculture, development of infrastructure, Ahluwalia said.

He ruled out any discussion Bihar`s demand on the special category status, saying the topic was neither on the agenda nor was this the subject of Planning Commission.

Ahluwalia indicated that many more states have placed a similar demand but these will be discussed on a different platform (National Development Council).

Ahluwalia said Kumar raised the success of project under Public Private Partnership and informed that one such project was being executed in Bihar with an investment of Rs 1500 crore.

"From the central point of view many more such projects needed to be implemented," he said, adding the issue of backward states not not receiving investments was also broadly discussed.

Union Minister of state for Planning Ashwini Kumar said the issue of cash subsidy for schemes too figured during the discussion and "it is a relevant issue on which we will be holding consultation in future as well."

The bigger issues raised by the backward states were lack of "direct investment", he said and stressed the need for public investments.

"The proportion of the private investment and the forms will be discussed for ensuring investment in backward states," he said.

There are some states which are affected by naxal problem, while some states face natural disaster like floods every year and have to spend thousands of crore of rupees on relief, Kumar said.

"We held constructive debate on short-and-long-term measures to be implemented in the affected states," he said.

Referring to Centre reducing the number of schemes, the Union minister of state for Planning said rationalisation of Centre-sponsored 110 schemes was being discussed threadbare.

The meeting was attended by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Jharkhand Deputy Chief Minister Sudesh Mahto, West Bengal Planning and Development minister Manish Gupta and Deputy chairman of Chattisgarh Planning Board Shivraj Singh.

The Commission had identified 12 major challenges to be addressed during the 12th plan period and an approach paper would be worked out in the conclave.